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My Mom, myself and siblings in the 60s.

It’s almost Mother’s Day and truth be told, I’ve celebrated my share. This year, two of my daughters and I are taking a few hours to have lunch and browse the shops.

Long gone are the days when my kids bring me crafts from school. Two of my four daughters were born on or around Mother’s Day which made those days extra special. We’ve celebrated Mother’s Days and birthdays for years and now they’re mothers themselves and have their own Mother’s Day celebrations. So for me, Mother’s Day has come full circle.

Still, I celebrate being a Mom, but also honor my Mom, and my Grandmothers all who have passed on. It’s amazing the void I feel with them gone, especially when online florists remind me to buy flowers for them, even after all these years. But, the richness of their love for me remains, and today, instead of buying flowers from a florist, I plant flowers in my garden for them each spring. Having a memorial garden for them has been therapeutic and well, beautiful. I especially like my moonlight gardens where all the flowers are white Shasta Daisies, my Mom’s favorite flower.

And while I dig, water and plant the day away, I consider the work we do for the orphan. Most orphans are abandoned, or neglected, it makes me ever grateful that at least for most of my life I had a mother and grandmothers to love me, and care for me. Doing something for the orphan who is alone in this world helps me remember my Mom, and good fortune I’ve had.

So, the Mother’s Day Campaign for 200 Orphanages Worldwide is underway until June and it’s my hope that many will participate by donating. The campaign’s donations are applied to renovations of a home for 10 children in Kenya. Last year, we raised enough to help complete the renovation of another one of their homes. Now, that home is filled with happy, healthy children thanks to our donors.

This work makes me happy everyday, but especially on Mother’s Day!

If you want to donate or participate in caring for orphans in honor of your Mom, or a special woman in your life, Click The Button below.

Have a Blessed Mother’s Day and Remember the Orphan on her behalf!

20191117_071834.jpgI feel full already. Not only with the anticipation of lots of turkey, but with a sense of joy, as well.

My Thanksgiving table will have 20 guests, family and friends of all ages… from 6 months to 65. Food will be abundant and laughter too. I am looking forward to full holiday and feeling so grateful. I have so much to be thankful for.

200 Orphanages is closing out the month of November and I am full of joy as I reflect on the impact our donors have made. To finish out the year, after funding more than $100,000 in projects in India, Haiti and Tanzania in 2019, we just received a video from Songea Tanzania showing water spraying out from the well donors are providing. We got a great update from our other partner, Mainsprings, Tanzania and many of the projects are on their way. The projects in India are moving forward and we’re following the updates in Mexico, too. So, yes… I am full of joy.

VID-20191127-WA0000 from Jan Marie on Vimeo.

This video represents a milestone: Clean and Accessible water for 400 children, staff and the local community of St. Teresa’s Orphan Foundation in Tanzania. It’s little by little, step by step this creating foundations so children can live full and productive lives. Clean water is part of that, as are the other projects providing safety, shelter and sustainability. This is how it was this year.

20190425_171537Over and over again, as we made you, our supporters, aware of the needs of the orphans… you took action. SO MANY OF YOU SAID YES! We asked for help and volunteers help with letter writing campaigns, silent auctions, fundraisers, donations and more! It’s because, as I suspected, you want to help orphans as much as I do. I am doing my part by finding credible projects and individuals like you are the key to making them happen. We’re together in this business of impacting and changing lives.

Over the year, there were PartiesWithPurpose organized, fundraisers for two clean water wells, and Facebook fundraising campaigns. There was even a lemonade stand set up to raise funds by a little boy in my little town of Duvall Washington who wanted to help orphans.

The best part is many people were able to learn about what we do and the projects that can help needy kids have better lives. These are seeds sown. And now we wait for the harvest!

Our strategies for 2020 will be to dig deeper, reach wider. We’ll march on, sow our seeds, all to make sure the children in good time, will have their basic needs met. Jh

You Make All The Difference In The World.

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours.

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My sister in law, Linda Hanson and I ventured out to Tanzania to do a site visit at Mainsprings, JBFC  in Mwanza just off Lake Victoria in early November. I like to go to the projects our donors support and give a first-hand report. Here it is!

DSC_8904Mainsprings-JBFC- works to give vulnerable girls holistic care, including safety, shelter, medical care and excellence in education…all the things necessary for a bright future. They also help alleviate extreme rural poverty in Tanzania. 200 Orphanages has been partnering with JBFC for almost nine years. We recently had donors fund a tractor and greenhouse, and since I haven’t ever visited the site, this year was the year.

I was surprised when Linda agreed to go. She’s not the travel-to-the-hinterlands kind of gal… but it was placed on her heart and she replied with an almost immediate “YES”. She amazed me at every turn on long uncomfortable flights, unfamiliar foods and unrelenting lizards.

We prepared for months and Linda organized a craft project we could do with the school kids all around gratitude. How perfect, being Thanksgiving would soon be upon us back home. She had the kids write what they are thankful for and it seems there is a lot of gratitude with these little ones for rice, sun and rain. Mainly because the words are easy to spell and happen to be written on the chalkboard. The greater challenge for us was translating the question “What are you thankful for?” It loses something in the Swahili translation, but we persevered and the kids came away with some really nice gratitude pumpkins. Even the teachers and staff kept them front and center in their rooms.

lindacraftingEach day of our trip was meaningful. We especially loved our reading buddies. We enjoyed daily prayer organized and implemented by the girls. We were inspired seeing the Girls Government in action. Seth, the COO onsite manager, instigated the Girls Government about four years ago. Now, the girls manage all of their own affairs, including discipline encouraging respect and cooperation. We were told that even when a new sister is introduced to the home, the girls rally to her aid. They make sure her first days and weeks are bearable. They provide the love and care a family would until the new one settles in. The maturity, confidence and leadership skills the girls get to practice in this system is evident in their interactions and will no doubt serve them in years to come.

lindareading-e1511813355566.jpgThe trip warmed our hearts. Each day was filled with hugs from our new friends. We felt so welcome and loved. Linda and I spent time reading with our reading buddies, learning Swahili from our student teachers, touring the village with student leader Imma.  We were treated to dinner in the village at the home of staff member Miriam. (Thank you Miriam and family)  We can understand just a bit what it took to serve that lovely meal. To serve us, you had to butcher one of your chickens, use gathered wood to start a fire to cook the sauce, the rice and the chicken. And Miriam served us home made raised donuts… a wonderful treat common to Tanzania. To serve us, you had to use the water you or your family carried from the community well to make the dough for the donuts. We know you had to clean the dining room and make sure the solar lamp is charged to light up the room after dark. It’s no small task to serve a group dinner in a village in Tanzania, which made us savor the meal and the memory so much more.

DSC_8938 - Copy - CopyAt the resort next to the compound, we learned from Jackson, about growing up Masai. Jackson is Papa’s Cafe’s manager and he works hard. He also cleans the Bungalows and ensures the guests are taken care of. Jackson even rescues lizards hiding under couch pillows for surprised guests. Linda and I even went on a safari and enjoyed God’s natural beauty all around us for a day. We had the farm tour with Edward, the onsite agronomist. He shared his expertise with such pride as he walked us around the garden and showed off his cucumbers and tomatoes in the greenhouse. The tractor we funded was used to spread manure and will soon be active again plowing ground for new crops. We were amazed that seemingly acres and acres of kale will be eaten by the kids at the school and the home. Some will be given to the village, but it is just enough! Edward is passionate about his farm and is up for the task if they need to grow more!DSC_9025

The only thing we both have to say about the trip is that God met us at every turn. He is bigger than our fears. Our faith was activated a few times and gratefully we didn’t die. (smile) Fortunately the Masai who guard the complex kept us safe from the pirates we imagined were invading the shoreline one dark and stormy night. That didn’t happen, but our imaginations sure had us going! We do however acknowledge the angels keeping busy maneuvering the wayward wheel that became unhinged from our Safari vehicle, spinning off out of control into the darkness after a day on washboard roads from our Safari. Yikes. This did happen and we are grateful no one was hurt.

girlumbrella.jpgSo, we continue to process our time with the girls, staff and managers. We have been stretched beyond ourselves and we have grown. We miss the girls after even the short time together, their lovely smiles, their sweet spirits penetrated our souls. We’ll be with them in prayer and do what we can from far away to help make their lives just a little bit brighter.

preciousgirlsI am pleased that the partner we’ve worked with all these years is doing such a mighty work, keeping the girls safe, but preparing them so well for the brightest of futures. You are a part of this fine work and I am grateful to all our supporters and donors.

Happy Thanksgiving and A Happy Holiday Season to you and yours!

Jan

nicoleandjordannimaSometimes it just takes one person to make a difference. We always say, “We Can’t Do It All, But We Can All Do Something.”

In the case of raising awareness and funds for Ashirvad Children’s Home in India, one person who started the ball rolling is Nicole Hanson, my niece in law. Nicole’s simple act of sharing a Facebook post started the ball rolling that would ultimately touch more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Ashirvad Children’s Home in India.

Nicole loves our cause and how we help orphans in need. When she learned that her husband Jordan was participating in our Golf 4 Orphan event a few years ago, she shared the event on her Facebook page. She was especially excited about the event when she learned we were raising funds for an orphan home in India. It touched her deeply.

Nicole’s passion for India’s vulnerable children is personal. She was born in India and as a small child, she was taken into an orphanage and then adopted by her family in Minnesota. She grew up in the U.S. and had the benefits of a strong loving family and  friends. When she met my nephew in high school, they fell in love and were married.

Because Nicole shared our event, her aunt, Kim Anderson, who also loves helping orphans became aware of 200 Orphanages. When Kim read Nicole’s post, she asked about us and the rest is history. Over the past two years, Kim and her husband Dan have built amazing teams and accomplished successful fund raising events with proceeds going to complete a dining hall,  a library, a steam kitchen and this year funds were raised to buy a school bus.

This past week, Kim and Dan hosted Ashirvad Directors and Founders Raja and Sudha Sekhar in their home. It was their first time in the U.S., made possible by a generous donor. The couple was able to meet some of the people in Minnesota who participated in helping them help their children.

 

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Nicole, Jordan and their lovely newborn baby Nima Rae were at the gathering. They were able to hear stories from Raja of how great an impact the fundraisers have made by perfect strangers far away. I was reminded as we shared a meal over stories that night at Kim and Dan’s how something seemingly small and inconsequential to us can make the world of difference to someone in need. By individuals like Nicole, Kim and countless others, doing what they can, we are able to help partners around the world provide orphans with safety, shelter and sustainability.

I can’t help but wonder, as Nicole sees the photos of the kids at Ashirvad flash across the screen, if she doesn’t somehow see herself and say a prayer of thanksgiving. I can see in their faces that she and Jordan are filled with gratitude, even Pure Joy as they enjoy their daughter surrounding her with a loving family and friends as well as loving souls from abroad.

Thank you Nicole for your heart to help the orphans. Thanks you everyone.

New Things for 2015... A website and Logo.. Watch for it!

New Things for 2015…
A website and Logo..
Watch for it!

Happy Holidays!

I am taking a few minutes before New Year’s Eve to write a quick note filled with heartfelt gratitude to my favorite people.

If you’re reading this, you’re on my list!

You have meant so much to me in the work I set out to do 7 years ago on behalf of orphans. The vision has taken root because you and I deliberately choose to take one step toward raising funds and awareness to provide safe shelter for orphans. Because of your deliberate generosity and consistent support, we have the honor of providing orphans a safe place to call home. Well, the need is great and as we say, we can’t do it all, but we can all do something.

This work has not been an overnight success…actually, it takes effort every day… it’s an uphill sort of effort. And though we’ve not been a- 7 – year smash hit, by some standards, we have touched the lives of orphans who now have a sense of safety because of us. We move steady and sure… onward! That’s success in my book!

And, because of you, we’ve been able to fund more than $50,000 toward Angel of Mercy home in Cameroon. The last remaining effort is to get power to the site. We know there’ll be more incidentals, but for the most part, we’re well on our way to seeing kids living in their home in the next few months. We’ve funded $25,000 toward the Mercy Home, in spite of major obstacles and setbacks, making it ready to be home for 6 orphan girls. We’ve built a concession shed in Guatemala so disabled orphans can learn a trade. A generous donor funded 6 wells in India for one of our partners, two of those for a leper colony. Another underwriter funded a chicken coup in Tanzania and a guard house in Rwanda.

Today, we sent funds to help JBFC remodel their dining all, put windows on all their dorms, and build a shed so 43 orphan girls in their care will have somewhere to put their STUFF! You know girls! We’ve sent funds for the fence around the garden for the Gulu Girls home and funds to help the 6 orphan girls in Kerala India have a safe place to call home.

This year, you get to help us build a modern dining hall for orphans in India and more projects yet to be determined… So, in all the ways our work together touches and changes an orphan’s life, we …YOU… are a smashing success!

giveIf you so desire, and if you can, you can still donate online by clicking here. We appreciate any thoughtful gift!

 

Thank you and I wish you and yours all the best in 2015.

Jan

Your gifts of love help provide safe shelter for orphans.

Your gifts of love help provide safe shelter for orphans.

Love! In plain English, the best holiday gift is not a noun, but in our world, LOVE is the real thing: a verb.

Love is an action word and it’s why we do what we do, loving God and loving children in deed.

The girls in Rwanda in the T Shirts donors sent along.

The girls in Rwanda in the T Shirts donors sent along.

Gifts of love the verb take many forms in our world. These include helping move our mission forward in big or small ways. We’ve had RSVP volunteers stuff envelopes, we’ve had big and small kids in the classroom engage in our cause, some run marathons, create and donate works of art, some mobilize friends and families, some give money, some give services, some participate in our events some sponsor our events… the list goes on and one. All of these gifts are gifts of love to use. Verbs, (action words) not mere nouns.

Those who generously give time and talent are helping us build safety, shelter and sustainability of orphans. We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!

There are so many  who want to do something for an orphan and they’ve found us. That’s love in action!~ I love the holidays…don’t you? Happy Holidays to all our friends.

I only wonder what Love will bring in 2015.

 

Black Friday Deal For YOU!

Today, I have Thanksgiving on my mind. And like many others, I am counting my blessings and planning my Thanksgiving Day Menu. A lot of love and care will go into preparing the Thanksgiving Day meal. We have a tradition, like so many other families, to share what we are thankful for before we say grace and eat. With the sharing, there are tears mixed with loving words. We’ve been blessed with a large family and each one in our family is a treasure.

My heart of gratitude reaches even further since I started the mission to help provide orphans safe shelter and sustainability. I was compelled to start this work because I love my family so much. I can’t imagine a child at any age being left alone in this world. I knew there was something I could do to make their lives better, so this is my something.

And I know many of you have a heart for orphans too, as many of you have friended or followed our work. For all of you who have “liked” our pages and followed our “tweets,” I’m wondering if you can take the next step and participate in our Black Friday Event.

Send in a $50 or more donation online clicktodonate

to help us in our work starting Black Friday until Christmas, and we’ll will send you hand crafted felted mittens, a felted bird house or a neck warmer. Let’s try to make sure the orphans have a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving too!

mittens   WP_20141103_007 WP_20141101_012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

handactsharegiveDo you have room in your heart for one more?

Think about the people in your life and if you have room or want to make room, there are lots of things you can do.You can mentor a child with groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, you can adopt a child as your own, you can sponsor a child’s education or living expenses, you can help us raise awareness and funds to provide safety, shelter and sustenance for orphans. You can help us help them.

There may be ways to move things around in our lives, in our hearts even and make room for just one more. If we ACT, SHARE OR GIVE, if we all just made room for one more, what a different world this would be! I know many of you have already made room, but if not you can join our Giving Hearts Club! You can help us help them, and participate in building an orphan home, click on the photo and get started!

We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!

mercyhomesindiagroupgive_now Could there be a better time of year to share a gift with a child in need? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remember  those who have so little.  Our Global Giving Campaign is now live and we’re  encouraging our friends to donate at any level toward the Mercy Home project in Kerala India.

Click on the  button, or go to our Project Page and consider making a monthly gift at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/provide-10-orphans-a-home-of-their-own/?show=recurring.

You can be a part of helping the kids in Kerala India be home for the holidays. 

I’ll be sharing a video that gives you a glimpse of just a few of the lovely children cared for by Mercy Homes. It touches my heart each time I see the kids smile as I am sure it touches yours. I am so blessed to be a part of their lives. You can donate at any level. It takes so little to make a child smile! We know we can’t do it all, but we can all do something.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Give Now

croppedindiagirlMany have received a letter from us in the mail, adding to the thousands of nonprofits around the country asking for donations. Believe me, I resisted sending snail mail… we have email and Facebook, right? Even so, it seems this time of year presents you with a smorgasbord of opportunities to give. Ok, I know many in the social media generation don’t even know what a smorgasbord is…(think glorified buffet). It means you get to choose from a variety of options… and that’s a good thing. Everyone has a favorite…we are hoping helping an  orphan have safe shelter is yours!

So, with that as a backdrop, I must apologize in advance for all the email and social media chatter coming your way from us. You are going to hear a lot about our ongoing projects and the kids at Mercy Home in India. We want to raise $13,000 by the end of the year and we can’t do it without you, your friends and their friends… even perfect strangers. We’re going to use these tools to make that happen, all the while spreading the word about our partners and the wonderful work they’re doing on behalf of the orphans in their care.

So, here’s what’s at the smorgasbord…

coryraceNOVEMBER 14-April 2014: Basic Needs Marathon Challenge:

This exciting campaign is the brainchild of our Board member Cory Scheer, assistant professor of nonprofit and business leadership at William Jewell College in Liberty Missouri.  Cory joined the board in June 2012 and wanted to help raise funds for shelter, knowing he couldn’t do it all, but he could do something.  His something is athletics…and today, after a serious injury, he’s organizing a fund raising marathon campaign around his Virtual 5K. Learn more at www.basicneedsmarathon.com

Cory will be running 12 Marathons in 12 months to draw attention to the causes he supports. We’re proud to be one of them and we’re already hearing from runners from Pennsyvania to California! We will stay with Cory’s campaign through our own Minnesota Spring Fever 5K in February until the culmination of his campaign in April. If you’re a runner, know a runner or are a wanna be runner…let’s do this thing!

Donate Now

 NOVEMBER 14: Give to the MAX: We are participating and will post social media.

 

COMING SOON! November 25: Global Giving Campaign November 25-Dec. 25: Thanksgiving Week Till Christmas. In just a few weeks, starting November 25, you can help 10 orphans in India have a home of their own by Christmas. Give any amount. I’m seeking at least 50 people in my network… and your network to donate at any level. By raising $4,000 with 50 or more donors, we’ll be eligible for matching grants in future campaigns wiht Global Giving. This is a lot in just a few short weeks to get the word out, so I will try really hard not to inundate or be redundant…but sometimes it just happens. Please forgive… and just give! Any amount helps us reach our goal. Your gift changes lives and builds a foundation for a brighter future. As a volunteer organization, 100% of your gift goes to the project. So, think of my zealous communications as making the life of an orphan just a bit brighter. 

Just so you know, 100% of the proceeds from these campaigns will go to the Mercy Home project. Your donation of $30 buys items like  door posts; window frames are $50 each. These are the tangibles your funds are buying. $3,000 provides the flooring or a roof. Concrete for the home is about $500. What is intangible is the sense of security and belonging that comes to an orphan with a place to call home. So you see, you really can make a difference.

Help an orphan be home for Christmas! Thank you in advance for giving to make the life of an orphan just a bit brighter.give

You can also donate directly from our site and choose a project that you’re passionate about.

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